Tenth anniversary of the abolition of blasphem…

Tenth anniversary of the abolition of blasphemy…in England and Wales…:

“This was a massive victory for Humanists UK, which had campaigned
against the blasphemy laws for over a century, and worked in support of
the amendment that led to the abolition through parliament.

As part of
this campaign, Humanists UK briefed members of Parliament on the
compelling need for abolition, worked closely on the drafting of the
amendment with its proposers Evan Harris MPs and Lord Avebury, and
encouraged over 1,000

people to contact their MP to support abolition.

In the years leading up to abolition,
there were several attempts to bring prosecutions against individuals
in England and Wales, most notably against the BBC Director-General Mark
Thompson over screening of Jerry Springer – The Opera. The writer of the opera, Stewart Lee, became a patron of Humanists UK.

Since 2008, Humanists UK has
continued to campaign against blasphemy laws internationally, becoming a
founding member in 2015 of the End Blasphemy Laws campaign,
led by the International Humanist and Ethical Union and European
Humanist Federation
, and supporting campaigns to abolish blasphemy
restrictions in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In the past four years, five countries have abolished their blasphemy laws, with Canada, New Zealand, and the Republic of Ireland in the process of doing so.

Humanists UK’s Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson commented,
‘The abolition of the blasphemy laws in England and Wales was a large
and hard fought victory, not just for Humanists UK, but for human rights
in general.

It was not possible for the UK to move forward in promoting
human rights internationally, especially in the 13 countries where such
laws still carry the death penalty, whilst blasphemy remained on our
statue books at home.’‘Blasphemy laws are a violation of
the human right to freedom of expression, prevent legitimate and
necessary criticism of religious beliefs, leaders and institutions, and
in extreme cases legitimise vigilante violence and state persecution of
the non-religious and religious minority groups.

‘Such laws remain in place in
Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is urgent that the Scottish and UK
Governments and politicians in Northern Ireland take heed of the note to
abolish those laws, too, and act accordingly at the soonest

Read more about the End Blasphemy Laws coalition: http://end-blasphemy-laws.org/

Read more about the Humanists UK’s work on abolishing England and Wales’s blasphemy laws: https://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/successful-campaigns/abolition-of-blasphemy-laws/

Read more about Humanists UK’s international campaign to end blasphemy laws: https://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/international-campaigns/

At Humanists UK, we want a tolerant
world where rational thinking and kindness prevail.

Our work helps
people be happier and more fulfilled, and by bringing non-religious
people together we help them develop their own views and an
understanding of the world around them.”